Saturday, September 26, 2009


I keep on seeing the misuse of 'marinate' and 'marinade' and I think its time to educate.


Definition: Marinate means to coat or immerse foods in an acidic-based liquid or dry rub, to tenderize and flavor before cooking. Food is marinated in a marinade.

MAIR eh nate • (verb)

The steak is marinated for a few hours before grilling to tenderize.

This peeves me almost as much as the misuse of 'accept' and 'except'. I wouldnt mind so much if the purpose wasnt to try and inform people and it is this kind of misinformation that should not be encouraged. It is a little like asking Helen Keller for driving directions.

Braise, broil and boil. You do not braise with the broiler!

What Is Braising?

Braising is a cooking technique in which the main ingredient is seared, or browned in fat, and then simmered in liquid on low heat in a covered pot. The best equipment to use would be a crock pot, pressure cooker or Dutch oven. LeCrueset makes a range of enameled pots and pans that are good for either the stove or the oven. They work well too.

Whether you choose to use the oven or the top of the stove, you will be pleased with the results. Braising is often used as a way to cook less expensive, tough cuts of meat. The end result is tender and flavorful. Other than great taste and economy, there are other reasons to cook this way.

After searing the meat, the remainder of the cooking time (until sauce/gravy preparation) does not require much attention. Once the heat is reduced, you can go about cooking other things, do some chores or take a break. This is also a plus when entertaining: you have more time for your guests.

Yet another plus of cooking with this method is that the meat tastes great and you also get delicious broth, sauce or gravy. It’s one pot cooking at it’s finest. There isn’t much to cleaning up and anything leftover can be reheated or frozen and reheated for later.

This method of cooking is great for tough cuts of meat but also works well with chicken, fish and/or vegetables. You can braise in a crock pot, pressure cooker, large saute pan or the most often used cooking vessel for braises, a Dutch oven.

What Is Broiling?

There are two different types of broiling. One involves cooking the food in an oven which is set to a “broil” setting. The other is called pan broiling, and it takes places on the stovetop using dry, high heat. Both produce slightly different end products, especially pan broiling, which can sometimes be closer to sauteeing than broiling. Broiling tends to produce a large amount of smoke, so it is important to do it in conditions with good ventilation.

To broil in an oven, most people use an oven with a separate broiler rack, usually located beneath the oven. The food being broiled is inserted, and the oven is turned to “broil.” Broiling directs intense heat at the food from directly above to quickly sear and cook it. The food may need to be turned if it is particularly thick, and it should be broiled in a sturdy cooking pan over a broiler tray.

To broil on the stovetop, a sturdy frying pan is used. The stove is adjusted to a high setting, which sears the meat when it is placed in the pan. As fat is produced, it is usually poured off. Thick foods should always be flipped to ensure that they are properly cooked.

Some people liken broiling to grilling, since it is essentially grilling in reverse. The heat comes from above, rather than below, but in both instances high heat quickly sears the food, sealing in flavor and moisture. As the heat penetrates the food, the food is cooked through. Both broiling and grilling can cause food to burn if it is not carefully watched, so always keep an eye on foods being broiled.

Typically, food is marinated before broiling. Most cooks go light on the fat, both to make the food healthier and to reduce the amount of smoke produced. Marinades which are high in sugar can also produce a great deal of smoke, and may form unappetizing bits of charred material. Remember that broiling pans and trays are very hot, so handle them with care until they cool.

What Is Stewing?

stew (st, sty)

v. stewed, stew·ing, stews
To cook (food) by simmering or boiling slowly.
1. To undergo cooking by boiling slowly or simmering. See Synonyms at boil1.
2. Informal To suffer with oppressive heat or stuffy confinement; swelter.
3. Informal To be in a state of anxiety or agitation. See Synonyms at brood.
a. A dish cooked by stewing, especially a mixture of meat or fish and vegetables with stock.
b. A mixture likened to this dish.
2. Informal Mental agitation: in a stew over the lost keys.
3. Archaic A brothel. Often used in the plural.

What Is Roasting?

When you roast something, you are cooking it with dry heat, and the heat surrounds the food. Roasting is different from steaming or braising because you don’t want to add moisture to the food. For instance, a pot roast is actually a braised dish, because you add moisture and cover it to moisten and tenderize the food. Roast beef, on the other hand, is cooked without adding moisture.

roasting tips

In roasting, the food is cooked from the outside in, and the heat surrounds the food. Originally, roasting meant putting a chunk of meat on a spit and setting it over an open fire, and turning it frequently so that the fire seared and cooked the entire cut of meat. Now, most of us do our roasting in a conventional or convection oven.

All of this information is available on the internet so if you are ever unsure - look it up!


Heather S-G said...

Thanks teach ;)

Table Talk said...

Clicking on the speaker from and hearing the word "stew" is what got me on this post---

Anette said...

That was very educational on a Saturday night! I'll wash it down with a glass of wine!

Sweta (My Indian Dietitian) said...

Wow-what a great lesson in vocab and cooking terminology!!:)

buffalodick said...

You need a little marinading.. adult beverage of choice!

Christo Gonzales said...

girli: you dont need me to teach you...LOL

table talk: stoo -

anette: the wine sounds better than my whine

sweta: just in case -

buff: see now you did it too - its "marinating"

Jenn said...

This is good stuff to know. Thanks.

Marjie said...

Ah, you are talking to the queen of hating word abuse and misuse. I have been known to correct a lot of people on this kind of thing; glad I'm not the only one who gets agitated with it. Happy weekend, Dog!

Christo Gonzales said...

jenn: it could come in handy

marjie: I read blogs by people calling themselves 'chef' and these simple mistakes abound...peeves me to no end!

foodcreate said...

Thank You ! Thank You ! Thank You ! hundred precent !

Have a Wonderful Weekend !

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I am a stickler for grammar too, so it's nice to see others who treasure language as much. Another of my pet peeves - using "then" when "than" is called for, i.e. "I'd rather have the blue one then the red one." Or starting a sentence with a singular subject and switching to a plural, i.e. Will everybody get their coats? grrr.

Christo Gonzales said...

foodcreate: you are a hundred times welcome

linda: or getting popular phrases wrong - I wrote a post about this one it bugged me so much- a blogger wrote once comparing themselves in this manner: "...never had anyone quote poetry little own shakespeare..." isnt it supposed to be "let alone" and then switching from first person to third person and back "doggybloggy likes to write about food and I also like to take the pictures when he isnt cooking".....aggghhhhhh

tavolini said...

so stew is an archaic form of brothel? (this will be my main memory of the lesson)

Diana H said...

I have a husband who uses bought for brought all of the time, drives me nuts.

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